Food & Cultural Highlights of North India

11 Days – from £1800 per person

This 11-day trip through India’s culturally rich and vibrant north highlights some of the region’s most spectacular architectural gems, imposing forts, exhilarating markets and fascinating heritage. In addition to exploring the captivating history and beauty of India, this tour also focuses on one of the best aspects of this magical country, the food! Aromatic spices, regional traditions and family recipes… food and cooking is at the core of daily life in India, and this itinerary allows you to experience it firsthand.

Day 1 - Welcome to India!

This morning your overnight flight arrives in to Delhi, oozing with history and intrigue. Your driver and guide will greet you at New Delhi International Airport and transport you to your comfortable accommodation. Once you’ve had an opportunity to unpack and have some rest, you will head out with your guide to explore New Delhi. This region of the city was planned and built by the British in the 1920’s and is characterised by Sir Edwin Lutyens’ monumental architecture. You will drive through the city, with its wide tree-lined avenues, discovering India Gate, the Diplomatic Enclave and Humayun’s Tomb, aptly called the predecessor of the Taj Mahal because of its ornate Mughal style of architecture.

Stay at friendly guest house Colonel’s Retreat.

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Day 2 - Traditional Haveli and tea tasting

This morning you will be joined by your local guide for a walking tour through the tangle of narrow lanes in Old Delhi, soaking up the atmosphere and experiencing the intense aromas of spices and incense. During this tour, you will be taken to a local Haveli home where you will meet the family and gain an insight in to their lives and traditions. Head up to the open terrace on the roof to view Delhi and the surrounding neighborhood from a different perspective.

Later this afternoon, stop for some tea tasting at Delhi’s first tea parlour, opened in 1981. Tea drinking forms the central part of daily life in India, whether that be the sweet and spicy masala chai served up from street stalls or steaming cups of fresh Darjeeling tea, surprising refreshing in the heat of the day.

Day 3 - Journey to the Pink City

This morning you will leave Delhi and travel to the Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, and the capital of colourful Rajasthan. A riot of colour and noise, Jaipur’s bustling markets and stunning architecture makes the city a favourite amongst visitors.

After checking in to your accommodation and having some time to relax and enjoy some lunch, you will head out with your local guide to explore some of Jaipur’s architectural gems – the City Palace Complex, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) and the fascinating Jantar Mantar observatory, which dates back to the early 18th century.

Stay at characterful boutique hote Dera Mandawa.

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Day 4 - Discover Amer Fort and Bollywood!

This morning you will be joined by your guide once more to explore the imposing Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort). This exquisite piece of Rajput architecture has beautiful royal halls featuring intricate ivory, mirror and glass work and is a delight to stroll through. The views from the fort over the surrounding landscape are breath taking so be sure to keep your camera handy!

This evening you can visit the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema to experience the celebration of colours and music of a Bollywood movie!

Day 5 - Taste of Jaipur

Have a day at leisure today to relax or explore under your own steam. Perhaps take a rickshaw in to the markets for some fabric or spice shopping or simply potter the streets, soaking up the atmosphere and local way of life.

This evening, the charismatic hosts of Dera Mandawa boutique hotel will invite you in to their kitchen for a wonderful evening of cooking (and of course eating!) traditional Rajasthani cuisine.

Day 6 - Discover the architectural highlights of Agra

This morning you depart Jaipur and journey to Agra by road, a city best known for the spectacular Taj Mahal. En route, stop at Chand Baori (step well) at Abhaneri. One of largest stepwells in the world, Chand Baori was built to conserve water and provide respite from the intense heat, and on completion it was dedicated to Hashat Mata – Goddess of Joy and Happiness.

On arrival in to Agra, and after checking in to your accommodation, you will then enjoy an evening tour of some of the city’s most famous landmarks in the atmospheric evening light with your knowledgeable guide.

Stay in the colourful Coral Tree Homestay and enjoy the warm welcome!

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Day 7 - The magic of the Taj Mahal

This morning starts with a sunrise visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal, the monument of love. Visiting in the ethereal early morning light only adds to the romance of the experience, and the crowds tend to be quieter at this time.

After breakfast and some time to relax, join your guide in exploring the imposing Red Fort and learn about the fascinating history held between the walls!

Day 8 - Journey to Lucknow

Today you will journey to the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. The city stands on the banks of the Gomti River and is home to many architectural gems, rich in history and intrigue. This evening enjoy a heritage Victorian walk through the city, learning about it’s history and meeting some of the locals who have fascinating stories to tell!

Day 9 - Taste of Lucknow

After a morning exploring the city of Lucknow in more depth with your local guide, covering interesting sites such as La Martiniere School, Lucknow Residency and Immambara, enjoy and afternoon at leisure to relax.

This evening, explore the culinary highlights of the city by joining your guide for a foodie tour. Hop in and of traditional roadsite eateries, tasting your way through Lucknow’s local delicacies straight out of the kitchen!

Day 10 - Experience the famous Indian railway!

After a leisurely morning, board your Express Train to New Delhi. Enjoy the experience of India’s famous railway! Stay overnight in Delhi before your journey home tomorrow.

Day 11 - Home time!

Today you will board your international flight back home. Safe journey!

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £1,800 per person B&B and is based on two people sharing during the high season (Oct-Mar) excluding the peak Christmas and New Year period. The price includes all private transfers and domestic travel but not international flights.

International flights tend to cost about £600pp for a return – do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £1,800 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Train tickets
  • Local taxes
  • All excursions and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered